Iran: Oil, gas, petrochemical workers strike work demand wage revision, paid holidays
30 June, 2021: Workers across Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemical sectors struck work on 19 June, 2021 against stagnation of wages amid rising inflation and discrimination against contractual workers. The industry employs around 154,000 temporary and contractual workers who earn $300 per month. Workers have been demanding $500 per month as inflation in the country has jumped 50% per year since the US imposed sanctions on Iran. The resistance has been growing and permanent workers have joined their peers in over 60 companies.
UK: Court of Appeal holds delivery company Deliveroo’s workers as self-employed
24 June 2021: Britain’s Court of Appeal has held that delivery company Deliveroo’s riders are not workers employed by the company but independent contractors who are self-employed. This is the fourth case in which Deliveroo workers have been denied the status of works by courts. Earlier, the central Arbitration Committee and the High Court have held Deliveroo workers as self-employed in three separate cases. The loss has come as a big blow to workers and the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which was refused permission in 2017 for collective bargaining rights for a group of Deliveroo riders on the basis that they were not workers under the terms of legislation on labour relations.
USA: Seattle labour standards office finds Uber violating labour laws, orders $3.4 mn for workers
24 June 2021: Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards began investigating Uber after drivers complained that they were not receiving the benefits from Uber as per law. Seattle’s law allows workers paid sick leave and paid time off for other reasons, such as to seek help in domestic violence cases or to care for children whose schools were closed because of the pandemic. Though Uber has refused to admit liability in the matter, it will pay $1.3 million in back pay, interest, damages and civil penalties for 2,329 workers, as well as nearly $2.2 million in advance payment of unused paid time off to 15,084 workers.
Lesotho: Garment workers emerge victorious after long strike, government to revise minimum wages
22 June 2021: Workers have registered major victory in Lesotho with their long and militant strike between 10 May and 7 June for wage increments. The government there notified new minimum wages, effective from next month, with 14% wage hike for garment workers who currently earn M 2,000 per month. Workers in other sectors outside the civil service have been awarded a 9% salary increment. In May, the government was unsuccessful in stifling the workers’ strike despite brutal police action, including firing live bullets that killed 2 workers and left many severely injured.
Greece: Government passes anti-worker labour law amid protests from unions
17 June 2021: Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government bulldozed the new labour reform Bill with 158 votes in a 300 member parliament; it allows employees to opt for a longer working day in exchange for their time off, thereby increasing working hours from the existing eight hours per day to 10. It raises yearly overtime to 150 hours and introduces a digital work card from next year, which would help employers track workers in real time. Unions and workers held several strikes across the country against the Bill up until the final day when the bill went to vote. On the day of the voting over 9,000 workers in Greece were on a general strike.
France: IKEA fined €1mn for spying on workers, illegally gathering personal information
15 June 2021: A French court has held Swedish furniture firm Ikea guilty of spying on its workers and illegally collecting as well as storing their personal and financial information. The firm was also found guilty of storing customer information and propping up fake employee accounts to report on workers. The matter dates back 2009-12, when the cases first came to light. Several store managers and employees in human resources and a private investigator and police officers were held guilty of actively supporting the spying programme.
Brazil: Court fines meat processing co JBS $194,000 for lack of health, safety measures
2 June 2021: A labour court found JBS Foods guilty for the outbreak of COVID-19 cases indoors at its plant in Caxias do Sul and fined it 1 million Rias ($194,000) for failing to implement health and safety measures. It also ordered that workers be provided with protective masks, individual lockers and that they should stay at least two meters apart while working. The world’s largest meat producer was also found guilty of similar charges in the US and fined $15,615 in September 2020 by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.